Five new Cal/OSHA regulations have recently been adopted to help protect employees from the virus at work. The regulations went into effect on November 30, 2020. These regulations cover your prevention program, testing, wages, housing and transportation requirements. They apply to every California business, except for:
- Places of employment with one employee who does not have contact with other persons
- Employees working from home
- Employers covered by section 5199 (primarily health care providers, correctional facilities, drug treatment programs and homeless shelters)
The regulations have several new requirements for employers:
- Creating a written COVID-19 Prevention Program (CPP)
- Providing COVID-19 testing at no cost to employees after a workplace COVID-19 exposure
- Paying wages to employees who cannot work due to a COVID-19 exposure on the job
- Reporting COVID cases to the local health department
The COVID-19 Prevention Program
Employers must develop a written COVID-19 Prevention Program (CPP) for preventing the spread of the virus in their workplace. The CPP must explain your plan for implementing 11 different elements, including employee training and reducing exposure hazards. If you don’t yet have a CPP, you should create one right away. To help you comply, we created a CPP template that you can modify for your business operations.
Providing COVID-19 Testing
Employers must provide COVID-19 testing to employees exposed to someone at work who recently tested positive for COVID-19. Additional testing requirements apply during workplace outbreaks. The testing must be available during working hours and free of charge to the employee. Check with your local health department for information on testing and free testing resources in your county.
Employers must send home employees with COVID-19 or employees who were exposed to the virus on the job, and must pay them while they cannot work. Employers can use employer-provided sick leave and other COVID-19 leave benefits from public sources to cover wages for employees isolating at home. This rule is limited to workplace exposures. Employers must prove that the exposure was not work-related if they are not paying the employees to stay home.